GFW uses at least three different HTTPS censoring staging boxes in parallel.
A group of scientists from the University of Maryland discovered a previously hidden layer in China’s Golden Shield censorship system, also known as the Great Firewall of China (GFW).
GFW is an Internet content filtering system in the PRC. The development of the project began in 1998, and in 2003 it was commissioned throughout the country. The system includes such subsystems as a security management system, a crime reporting system, an exit and entry control system, an information monitoring system and a traffic management system.
While there are various censorship mechanisms within the Great Firewall of China that serve different protocols, the most powerful and technically advanced is the one designed to handle HTTPS encrypted web traffic. The HTTPS censorship mechanism includes two separate systems. The first one intercepts HTTPS connections in their initial stages, and then looks at the connection data field (SNI) that reveals the domain that the user is trying to access. Even if Chinese censors are unable to decrypt the content of the actual HTTPS connection, the SNI field allows the Chinese government to block users from accessing unwanted sites.
The second system, introduced last year, handles HTTPS connections that use modern protocols that encrypt the SNI field (like eSNI). Since the system cannot see which domain users are trying to access, this censoring mechanism is much more rude, since GFW simply blocks all connections to eSNI fields.
The second mechanism has not been widely adopted because censors are still testing its capabilities and very few HTTPS connections use eSNI.
However, scientists from the University of Maryland discovered a secondary HTTPS SNI filtering system running in parallel with the first.
“It was actually an accidental discovery, and we stumbled upon it back in 2019. We began to find strange strategies in which Geneva [система обхода цензуры] defeated the censorship in the first part of the TLS handshake (where censorship was supposed to have taken place), but still did not fall deeper into the handshake, ”the scientists explained.
According to experts, the system is as effective as the first level at censoring HTTPS traffic, even if it intervenes in the last stages of the connection.
This discovery means that GFW is using at least three different HTTPS censoring staging boxes in parallel – two for SNI-based connections and another family of staging boxes entirely for censoring ESNI-based connections.
Chinese TikTok adds 5-second pauses between videos to combat addictions
5-second warning clips will remind you to “put the phone away” or “go to bed”.
Douyin, the Chinese app “twin” of TikTok, owned by the same ByteDance company, is introducing measures to combat its own algorithms, tuned to keep users’ attention as long as possible. Now those who “stick” in the application for too long will be revived by forced pauses between clips. Reported by the South China Morning Post.
On the social network, there are five-second pauses between videos that cannot be missed. During such pauses, users will be forced to watch videos reminding them of the need to “put the phone away”, “go to bed” or that “work tomorrow”. They will appear when the user spends too much time in the application.
Previously, Douyin had already limited video viewing – then the changes affected the children’s audience. Teenagers under 14 were allowed to watch videos for a maximum of 40 minutes a day, and were also banned from entering the application from 10 pm to 6 am.
Trump’s social network developers accused of illegal use of program code
The Software Freedom Conservancy claims Trump Media and Technology Group copied the open source code of the decentralized social network Mastodon, created a new social network based on it.
The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), a not-for-profit organization that enforces the rights of open source software developers and the rules for using open licenses, accused in violation of the AGPLv3 license of the Trump social network developers Truth Social.
The Software Freedom Conservancy says that the developers of the service used the open source code of the decentralized social network Mastodon in violation of the license agreement.
Although the Mastodon code is free and free, the projects using it must comply with the terms of the Affero General Public License (or AGPLv3), among which is the mandatory availability of the project source code for all its users. Trump’s media company does not yet provide such an opportunity to TRUTH Social users and calls the social network a proprietary development.
The Software Freedom Conservancy gave Trump Media and Technology Group 30 days to improve, writes The Verge. Otherwise, the use of open source Mastodon will be prohibited for the company.
Facebook end-to-end encryption will give foreign intelligence services surveillance capabilities
Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen criticized the company’s decision to transfer correspondence in its services to end-to-end encryption.
The introduction of end-to-end encryption in Facebook messengers could negatively affect the privacy of users and lead to increased surveillance by intelligence agencies. This opinion was expressed by a former employee of Mark Zuckerberg’s company, Frances Haugen, reports TASS.
According to her, after the launch of encryption in the Messenger application and the social network Instagram, which are owned by Facebook, the company will lose the ability to track possible “malicious operations of special services representatives.” “End-to-End Encryption Will Allow Facebook to Eliminate [от модерирования контента] and serve as an excuse for inaction, “Haugen said ahead of her October 25 speech in the British Parliament as part of discussions on online security bill.
The social network itself does not agree with this point of view. In their opinion, the introduction of end-to-end encryption in Facebook Messenger and Instagram applications, on the contrary, is aimed primarily at protecting the privacy of users and will protect them not only from foreign surveillance, but also from hackers.
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Chinese TikTok adds 5-second pauses between videos to combat addictions
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